EC meets to address legal, personnel issues

NASHVILLE (BP) – Trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee met in a closed session on Thursday (Oct. 28). It was the first meeting for the group since the resignations of key EC staff members and a letter from long-time attorneys, Guenther, Jordan & Price, withdrawing from providing legal counsel for the group.

EC Chairman Rolland Slade said in a statement the group discussed issues related to personnel, legal counsel and committee leadership.

While Guenther, Jordan & Price is withdrawing from longterm counsel, an agreement has been secured for the firm to provide counsel in the interim. “Regarding legal representation, the EC has finalized a limited scope arrangement with Guenther, Jordan, and Price while we conduct our search for new legal counsel,” the statement said.

The group also announced the hiring of Bradley group, a national law firm, to help in matters related to the third-party investigation of the EC that is looking into potential mishandling of sexual abuse allegations. Bradley will, “specifically assist in the legal aspects related to the ongoing independent third-party investigation by Guidepost Solutions.”

Two additional trustees, James Freeman of Missouri and Rod Martin of Florida, resigned prior to the meeting, reducing the number of trustees to 70.

The 15 resignations since Sept. 20-21 caused a leadership transition in two of the group’s standing committees. Archie Mason was named the chairman of the Convention Finances & Stewardship Committee, and Andrew Hunt will be chairman of the Convention Missions & Ministry Committee, according to the statement.

The statement did not include the naming of an interim EC president and CEO. Ronnie Floyd’s last scheduled day in the role is Oct. 31. Slade thanked Floyd in the statement, saying, “He’s had a tremendous ministry to Southern Baptists for years. We know he loves the Southern Baptist Convention, and we wish him well in the future—wherever God may lead him to serve.”

Floyd said he told the group how it had been a “great honor and privilege to serve here in this role.” He also “thanked them for their service as trustees,” and “…shared with them my commitment to continue to pray for them.”

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